Well, the leaders suck pretty bad too. Having just spent two weeks in Virginia, this account of a meeting of McCain/Palin supporters rings true:
I immediately realized that the McCain/Palin folks were having a little meeting….I sat down at the table next to the group just as they were starting their meeting.
As soon as the last member of their group came in, they prayed. In their prayer they begged that God “deliver the country from the evil socialists” and even prayed that “Obama find God”…
….The next person lamented that their whole office was voting for Obama. The McCain/Palin supporters called that person’s co-workers “sinners” and said that they “needed Jesus”. Damn, I’m offended again….
They were all upset that Obama had voted for the bailout. Then, one of them said, “McCain supported it too.” Then they talked about how upset they were about McCain’s proposal to buy mortgages directly from homeowners. One of the gentlemen proclaimed, “McCain sounds like a socialist. You’d think he were a Democrat”….
They talked a little more about how Obama would destroy our country with “free health care” and “gay marriages”. The feared his daughters would probably play loud rap music in the White House while world leaders were staying. They feared that Muslim would become our official religion. One of them even feared that “the Muslim language would be taught in schools.”
….They just couldn’t believe this great country would elect “that man”. They couldn’t believe God would allow it. One woman even thought that God may be punishing the country by giving us Obama.
….One of the men didn’t notice [the author’s Obama sticker] and kept talking. He said that “Obama is part of a sleeper cell and he will use our own nuclear weapons against us.” One of the women nodded her head in agreement. Finally, the woman who noticed me said in a soft voice, “there’s an Obama supporter behind us…BE QUIET”. The group suddenly got quiet.
They changed the subject for a while, but on the way out the door one of the men told me “you are a disgrace to white people if you vote for that man.”
This isn’t a movement; this is a psychotic break occurring simultaneously in millions of people. One wonders if mental illness, paranoia to be exact, is a communicable disease. And to all of the professional evangelical Democrats who claim if we just acted a little more friendly towards religion, Democrats could gain votes (although we seem to be doing just fine with black Protestant voters….), how do you respond to this:
“you are a disgrace to white people if you vote for that man.”
Do you think that has anything to do with abortion? This is tribalism wrapped in a veneer of religiosity. Someone tell me how exactly we’re supposed to reach these ‘values’ voters? Because abortion isn’t the issue; race is–it always was. They will never vote Democratic. Stop trying to appeal to their past; focus on our future.
For the Republican Party and the conservative movement, this is first a crisis of followership, not leadership. They’ve lost most professionals–doctors, lawyers, and investment bankers–the people who, 30-40 years ago, were the Republican base. All that is left are the bitter dead-enders (to steal a phrase). You simply can’t sustain a movement built around the kind of inchoate lunacy we’re seeing from the Republican base.